California coppers have been snooping your cellphones at Disneyland

The Anaheim Police Department has acknowledged in new documents that it uses surveillance devices known as Dirtboxes — plane-mounted stingrays — on aircraft flying above the Southern California city that is home to Disneyland, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

According to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the Anaheim Police Department have owned the Dirtbox since 2009 and a ground-based stingray since 2011, and may have loaned out the equipment to other cities across Orange County in the nearly seven years it has possessed the equipment.

This cell phone spying program — which potentially affects the privacy of everyone from Orange County’s 3 million residents to the 16 million people who visit Disneyland every year — shows the dangers of allowing law enforcement to secretly acquire surveillance technology,” says Matt Cagle, technology and civil liberties policy attorney for ACLU-NC

Stingrays and Dirtboxes are mobile surveillance systems that impersonate a legitimate cell phone tower in order to trick mobile phones and other mobile devices in their vicinity into connecting to them and revealing their unique ID and location. Stingrays emit a signal that is stronger than that of other cell towers in the vicinity in order to force devices to establish a connection with them. Stingrays don’t just pick up the IDs of targeted devices, however. Every phone within range will contact the system, revealing their ID.

The use of stingrays by local law enforcement agencies has been widespread for many years. But the use of the more invasive Dirtboxes has largely been limited to federal law enforcement, though at least two large cities were known before to be using them…Subsequent news reports revealed that Los Angeles and Chicago local police departments possessed Dirtboxes as well. Anaheim is the smallest city known to have one.

Dirtbags using dirtboxes. Something poetic about that, I guess.

3 thoughts on “California coppers have been snooping your cellphones at Disneyland

  1. Winston Smith says:

    The state attorney general of Maryland is taking an aggressive stance on the use of controversial cell phone trackers known as cell site simulators, or StingRays, arguing in court that a suspect volunteered to be tracked simply by leaving his phone on. …In the past, courts—usually relying on legal precedents established well before cell phones existed—have held that no one has a reasonable expectation of privacy when data is “given” to third parties, even if that data is sent unwittingly or as part of the normal functioning of a device or service. One flaw in this argument is that it’s possible to track phones even when they appear to be off. Malware reportedly used by the FBI and NSA can put a device into a low-power state when it’s switched off, allowing it to continue reporting its location and since most phones no longer have removable batteries simply carrying a cell phone might constitute having given up any expectation of privacy http://motherboard.vice.com/read/maryland-attorney-general-if-you-dont-want-to-be-tracked-turn-off-your-phone

  2. Watcho says:

    Anticipating a critical strain on the ability of fifth generation (5G) networks to keep track of a rapidly growing number of mobile devices, engineers at Tufts University have come up with an improved algorithm for localizing and tracking these products that distributes the task among the devices themselves. It is a scalable solution that could meet the demands of a projected 50 billion connected products in the Internet-of-Things by 2020, and would enable a widening range of location-based services. The results of the Tufts study were published today in Proceedings of the IEEE, the leading peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/tu-rdm052118.php

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